Increasingly sedentary working lives in the wake of the pandemic has left eight out of 10 Britons struggling with ‘pandemic posture’: back pain, hip pain, or both, according to a survey.
The poll of 1,000 UK-based British workers for muscle pain relief product Deep Heat found 45% complained of experiencing back pain, a further 13% hip pain, or both (22%).
Four in 10 (41%) respondents felt that increased home working had reduced their activity levels across the day.
Whereas before the pandemic, many would have been walking or cycling to the office or train station, and running around to get to appointments, much of their time is now spent sitting down in the same position on video calls.
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More than eight out of 10 (82%) said the pain they experienced affected, at least to some extent, their ability to get on with their daily routine. This included one in six (16%) who said this was often the case. Worryingly, 44% of respondents said the amount of pain they were in meant they had trouble walking.
Other problems people reported because of their back or hip pain included difficulty standing (44%), low mood or depression (28%), pain in other parts of the body (26%), missing out on social events (20%), missing work (15%), and missing being involved in hobbies (14%).
However, despite recognising that the pandemic had left them more sedentary, many of those polled did not feel, or perhaps just did not accept, that this could be a key reason for their pain.
More than half thought they knew what had caused their back pain. The top answers they gave were “picked something up awkwardly” (23%), “wear and tear” (22%), “overdoing the housework” (13%), “getting carried away with the gardening” (9%), and 8% blamed it on a fall or injury.
More than half (54%) had used pain killers, 38% had rested, 28% had taken a hot bath, 23% had tried heat patches and/or hot water bottles, and 20% topical creams or gels.
“Many people have stuck to home-based working, for at least some of the week, despite restrictions easing,” said physiotherapist and Deep Heat adviser Sammy Margo.
“Some have found great benefits from getting rid of the commute, from spending more time with the family to having more time and energy to exercise. But it’s not been all sunshine and roses.”